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Biology Curriculum

A basic assumption underlying our biology curriculum is that all undergraduate biology majors, regardless of future plans for specialization, can profit by taking a required core of courses.

The first year in the biology program begins with a two-semester course sequence in General Biology followed by second year courses that include Introduction to Genetics and Foundations of Evolution. During the third and fourth years students may select courses from the following clusters; cellular and molecular biology, ecology and organismal diversity, and organismal biology.

Herpetology students at Tipton Lake-Diversity Study
Herpetology students at Tipton Lake-Diversity Study

Electives in discipline specific areas are also available (microbiology, developmental biology, physiology, histology).

Students also have opportunities to take advanced seminar and research-oriented courses such as Advanced Ecology, Experimental Embryology, Neurophysiology, and Molecular Genetics.

May term electives include Tropical Ecology, Herpetology, Ornithology, Experimental Embryology,and Medical Externship.

The biology program is complemented with foundational classes in math, chemistry, and physics.

Major Sequence:

A minimum of eight courses and a completion of ePortfolio to include the following:

First Year
General Biology - BIOL 101
General Biology - BIOL 102
SEED (ePortfolio) - BIOL 390
Second Year
Introduction to Genetics - BIOL 212
Foundations of Evolution - BIOL 216
SEED (ePortfolio)- Biology 390
Third and Fourth year
One course in Ecology or Diversity selected from:
BIOL 306, 317, 319, 320, 327, 318, 320, 328, 350

One course in Cellular or Molecular Biology selected from:
BIOL 314, 325, 330, 340, 407, 410, 412

One course in Organismal Biology selected from:
BIOL 307, 310, 311, 313, 315, 319

One additional biology course at the 300 or 400 level

One courses must have a research emphasis and be selected from:
BIOL 307, 309, 311, 314, 317, 325, 327, 328, 340, 345, 411, 412

Biology 390: (ePortfolio) each fall semester

Although not required for the biology major, in preparation for many careers in biology students are expected to take: 

  1. four lab courses in chemistry (Chem 201, 202, 311, 312)
  2. two lab courses in physics (Phys 101, 102 or 105, 106)
  3. 2 semesters of Calculus (Math 176, 177) or Math 176 and a statistics course

* all students must earn a "C-" or better in General Biology 102 in order to take courses requiring 102 as a prerequisite

Biology majors and minors who desire secondary teaching certificates and/ or middle school and subject area endorsements must apply to the Teacher Education program as early as possible in their academic career. Refer to the Educational Studies curriculum description in the IWU Catalog for further information. 

Minor Sequence

Six courses in biology to include:

  1. General Biology – BIOL 101 and 102*
  2. Introduction to Genetics - BIOL 212
  3. Foundations of Evolution - BIOL 216
  4. One course in organismal biology selected from:
      BIOL 307, 310, 311, 313, 315, 319
  5. One 300/400 level elective

*All students must earn a “C-“ or better in General Biology 102 in order to take courses requiring 102 as a prerequisite.


Biology Course Plan (first 3 semesters)

This is an example course plan based on the 2023-2024 University Catalog; your actual schedule may deviate from this example. Your faculty advisor will work with you to select appropriate courses.

As an IWU student, it is your responsibility to track your progress each semester towards completing graduation requirements using the MyIWU degree audit tool.

Additional Information
  • Students planning to double major in Biology and Secondary Education should follow the Biology/Secondary Education Course Plan.

    • Students planning to teach biology at the secondary level should plan to complete EDUC 225 and 255 their sophomore year.

  • AP credit does not substitute for the general biology courses and students will not receive credit toward the major requirements, although a score of 4 or 5 will be counted as an elective course towards Graduation requirements.

  • Any students pursuing a minor in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Psychology, or Neuroscience may not count a course towards both a major and a minor requirement. See the IWU Catalog for more information.

Loni Walker - Associate Professor and Chair of Biology

Department - Biology